Shopper vs. Stalker, Snob, Stylist, Salesman, Student

When I was shopping in KL, I noted five distinct types of clothing shop assistants.

(Maybe some of them are actually shop owners but I’m just going to call them shop assistants because it makes my job easier.)

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *

1. The Stalker

This creepy shop assistant doesn’t greet you when you enter the shop but politely walks towards you, taking care to keep a one-metre (3.2-feet) distance from you. When you walk, she walks. When you stop, she stops. Ever mindful of allowing you your one-metre personal space.

I encountered a Stalker in a big shop (about two-thirds the size of a professional basketball court). She attached herself to me and silently followed my every footstep. It took me 20 minutes to finish browsing and she silently followed me for 20 minutes. Freaky.

2. The Snob

I’ve met many haughty shop assistants in expensive boutiques who turn their noses up at you if you walk into their shop without having at least one item of Gucci, Prada or Louis Vuitton on your person.

But this particular Snob I met was manning a no-name shop selling cheap stuff in a second-rate shopping mall. When I walked in, she walked out of her counter. She didn’t walk towards me but stood on the far end of the shop to watch me silently.

As I was checking out a rack of clothes, a blouse fell off its hanger. Because I was carrying multiple shopping bags on my left hand, I struggled to rehang the blouse with my right hand. The Snob didn’t rush up to help. She stood watching, three metres away.

When I finally manged to set the blouse right, I turned to look at her. She was staring at me with a borderline hostile look on her greasy, pimply face. What a pity, because I had seen several things I liked in the shop and was planning to spend some money.

3. The Stylist

The Stylist delights in giving you free personal shopper services.

The most enthusiastic one I met was a young, good-looking Chinese guy wearing punky clothes and a punky hairdo. As I browsed, he started to whip out clothes randomly.

“This would look great on you. You could pair it with tights or jeans, and maybe a shiny belt.”

He even went to the trouble of fishing out clothes from different parts of the shop to show me how to mix and match. He remained polite and enthusiastic even when I rejected all his creations.

He showed me about 20 outfits in all. I only bought two items, but it was two more than I would have bought if he hadn’t been such a personable bloke.

4. The Salesman

The Salesman tries to sweet-talk you into buying stuff, telling you how fashionable this is, how gorgeous you look in that.

This particular Salesman, who is, in fact, a woman, went all out to ensure I found something I liked. I had taken a dress and two pairs of shorts into the dressing room. Barely half a minute later, she knocked on my door. “How is it?”

“Er…,” I said, not knowing what to say.

Quickly buttoning up my shorts, I opened the door and asked if she could get me the same pair in another colour. When she returned, she was holding two more pairs of shorts in her hands.

“Do you want to try these?” she asked. “You’ll look very nice in them.”

I didn’t like them so I apologetically no-thanked her before I shut the door to try on my shorts.

Next, I tried on the dress. One strap was twisted, so I once again engaged her help. Later, her colleague brought another piece in a different colour to compare and we found out that the strap was intentionally twisted.

I told them I wanted to try on the new colour. While deliberating over the colours, my ever-diligent Salesmen knocked on my door again.

“How is it? Why don’t you try on these shorts?” she said, and slung two new pairs of shorts over the top of my door.

“Er… no need lah,” I said.

“It’s ok, just try!”

I grabbed the shorts and tossed them in a corner.

One minute later, I was still deliberating between the two dresses.

Another knock on the door.

“How are the shorts? Have you tried them on yet?”

The whole time I was there, she tried to recommend me all the shorts they had in range and made me try on about six pairs which I had totally no interest in.


5. The Student

Shop assistants must all go to the same school and learn to say the same thing. During my weekend in KL, the most-heard phrase was: “This is the newest arrival.”

The phrase just rolls off their lips the moment I step into the shop and touch the first piece of clothing!

Most of them stop at that sentence and allow me to browse in peace thereafter. A few illustrious Students add: “You can try it on.”

And then there are those who rattle out a stock phrase with every piece of clothing you touch, as if they were taught in school that “if a customer touches something, that means the customer is interested! Fuel the interest by saying something about it!”

Touch a blouse.

“This is the newest arrival!”

Touch a skirt.

“You can try it on!”

Touch a dress.

“This comes in three different colours!”

Touch a pair of pants.

“This comes in three different sizes!”

Touch a necklace.

“This is for sale at 20% off!”

They simply must have something to say for every item you touch. Even if they have nothing informative to say, they must say something.

Touch a hat.

“This is a hat!”

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *

It was great shopping in KL. Most shop assistants are nice, even if some are overbearingly so.

What are your shopping experiences? Have you encountered those listed above or do you have more types to add?

Share them!

23 thoughts on “Shopper vs. Stalker, Snob, Stylist, Salesman, Student

  1. Avatar

    HAHAHAHA this is hilarious… Ive met all of the above before. but I actually don’t mind the stalker types.

    I’ve been to this boutique, where I had a S.A. follow me around, helping me to hold the stuff that I’d picked out. She only offered comments when I hesitated, and her comments seemed sincere, cos she told me that I wouldn’t suit capris (cos of my lack of height) but recommended me a nicely cut pair of pants instead.

  2. Avatar

    Hey Monster,

    Seems like you had a fruitful shopping trip. Having lived in Singapore, Australia and now Hong Kong. I have to say that Spore has the worst sales assistants! Service level in Spore can be unbearable at times. I’m not trying to put down sales assistants in Spore but it’s full of snob and stalker type of sales assistants. I go into designer shops in HK on a regular basis, not that I’ve heaps of money but I love to browse and they are always nice even though there are times that I go in dressed in grubby clothes. It is actually rare that I get bad service. The same can be said in Australia as well. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I hardly shop in Spore these days. Why shop in places that give me bad service?

  3. Avatar

    Ermmm…what about the shop assistant that hope you quickly go away and don’t buy anything so as to not give her something to do?
    Encountered one at Gmask before. Totally boycott Gmask after that…which is why I pasted the girly stuff on my DS Lite myself. :p

    I had one bad experience in Melbourne. :(
    And in a big shopping center somemore lor. Totally ignored me when I wanted to buy a pair of boots. *Pout*

  4. Avatar

    I hate #1 & #5 the most. Once I went into a shop to browse for watches. Met a #5. The fella pissed me off so much that before I left, I let him know that actually I found a nice watch but I wasn’t buying ‘cos he’s totally annoying! In the end I went to another shop & found an even nicer watch!!

  5. Avatar

    I work as a part-time shop assistant so I understand all the situations you’ve listed. I guess we try, as shop assistants, to be as helpful as possible & at the same time, to let customers have their personal space.

    It’s a fine line between being a Stalker & being bo-chap. Haha.. but I’ve never tried being a Snob before. :)

  6. Avatar

    Wah.. lots of stuff you bought back.. :)

    For me I go shopping very easy, I know what I want to buy.. target it, take it, pay and go… :)

    Don’t even need any assistance except for shoe or clothing where I ask for the size… hahaha

  7. Avatar

    Daphne Maia: Yeah, I agree, that’s one of the nice stalker types. I’ve met those too and it’s nice to have someone hold stuff you pick out and hang it in the dressing room for you.
    The stalker I mentioned in my blog didn’t. She just silently followed me throughout and didn’t offer to hold my stuff. Well I think she was shy and unsure and she was wearing a badge that said Trainee.

    Monster: The trip was fun but I didn’t find as many nice things as I did my last trip. I bought a lot of stuff but there isn’t anything I really love to death.

    Yeah, Singapore service is worse compared to other countries. Is it because the pay is lower here or is it just our culture?

    Minou: Interesting! I never really thought of it that way, that some shop assistants might be rude because they don’t want you to give them extra work. Haha.

    Derrick: Heh, for me, I hate Snobs the most. I can tolerate #1 and #5 because I keep telling myself they’re only doing their job and I can’t totally blame them for not knowing how to do it well. But there are times I get irritated. Like when I’m in a bad mood and don’t want to be bothered, or when I tell them I don’t need help and they insist on helping. lol.

    JokeDiary: Er… ok. So I guess if she sweet-talk you a bit, you will buy stuff from her? :P

    Laura: Yeah, I totally understand. I think it’s really hard being a shop assistant. I tried applying for a part-time job at a fashion boutique once. They gave me a one-day trial period. I failed because they never asked me back after that day. Haha. I totally suck at sales.

    Hey, but thanks for sharing your insider views! ;)

    arachno: Heh. I seldom shop in Singapore so I kinda do my main shopping once a year or two overseas and just buy everything one shot. :P

    Anyway, it’s not about whether you need assistance or not. It’s really about how some shop assistants insist on assisting you even though you don’t want it. :P

    Precious: Wah, you really do that?? Hehe. But after that will you feel bad if you end up not buying anything?

  8. Avatar

    Wah, look at all your bags! =x

    I personally dislike The Snobs most! & always I’ll make myself spend in order to get back at them! (& enlarge a hole in my pocket too, haha)

  9. Avatar

    Shy Creeper: They act shy at first, but they morph into The Salesman at the first sign that you might buy something.

    Pushy: The ones that tell you that you “NEED” this or “If you like this, you going to love these 3”

    Teeniebopper: The high school student who tells you that they have this job to pay for college, making you feel bad and you buy things you don’t need thinking that it will somehow support them.

    Or the one I hate most:

    The Monkey On Your Back: These people will not leave you alone no matter what. I encountered many of these types in Singapore (Chinatown). I couldn’t walk up Temple Street without being bombarded by these types. No matter what you say, they will counter it. And If you buy something and leave, they will be back chasing you the next day.
    The USA has them in mens stores. They just won’t leave you alone. I shopped in Today’s Man 4 months ago and the guy still calls me and send me letters.

    Shopping is cool, but it gets very crazy when you get involved with all these types of salespersons.

  10. Avatar

    My personal solution to these problems is the application of a high voltage cattle prod. I find that this is an essential tool for any successful shopping trip.

  11. Avatar


    i don’t really think that its the pay that’s the problem. It’s the culture. I was told that about 10 years ago, sales assistants in HK are probably the worst in the world. But because of the Asia financial crisis and SARS, the retail industry realised that they need to change their attitudes in order to get their sales and revenue up and thus the change in their service attitudes. Well, maybe something like that needs to hit Spore in order for the service attitudes to change.

  12. Avatar

    werhh, i dont really go to shops that have this kinda person. i just go there when i really really really need the stuff their.
    hahaha.., even worse if they tell u they have discount but then when u pay, there’s no DISCOUNT. pwned.

  13. Avatar

    Encountered them all… but the most I hate is #1 – Damn follows my every move, it’s like… you know, they think you’ll gonna steal or something. They just don’t give you some personal space.

  14. Avatar

    of all of those listed one i most hate is the student la… damn noisy and fan sia… machiam cant sell all those things like tat.. need to say say say till all info.. nagging

  15. Avatar

    haha you write very well.

    there is also the unmotivated sales assistant where everthing you ask has ‘no stock’ or they simply ‘dunno lah’.

    post up e things u bought!

  16. Avatar

    Pingping: Haha. I recognise your reaction. My first impulse when I meet Snobs is to spend a lot to show them I can afford to buy their lousy stuff. But then, I realise that’s really counter-productive so I won’t do it. I’ll just walk out and silently gloat at them for losing a customer. :P

    MikeM: Hahahahaa. Shy Creeper and Monkey On Your Back are funny. Quite true, too! I met the worst Monkey on Back in Chiang Mai. I got seriously frightened!!

    We were at a night market and there were old ladies peddling costume jewellery. I made the mistake of buying from one and immediately, ALL the old ladies on the entire street swarmed up to me and surrounded me, waving their goods at me. And they wouldn’t leave me alone. They stuck to me like bees to a beehive as I tried to walk down the street. OMG. That was so freaky.

    Haven’t met Teeniebopper, though. Maybe it’s just not a Singaporean culture to work to pay for college, so that line hardly creeps up. :P

    Jesta: You are just too kinky for me. Even the items you possess are kinky.

    JokeDiary: Haha, then she’ll say “Buy for your girlfriend or wife!” And if you say you got no gf or wife, she might say, “Then buy for me!” *wink wink*!! lol

    Monster: I see. Well, isn’t Singapore doing its best to improve the situation? They give out many tourism and good service awards throughout the year to encourage good service, don’t they? :P Guess it isn’t working too well yet, huh?

    syuxx: Haha… must be you never read the fine print. Sometimes I also kena cheated by sales notices. Then later you read the fine print and it has some ridiculous clause like, “Discount valid only if you were born in the year 2000 and are wearing green pantyhose today”.

    modchip: Hahaha, yeah, some stalkers are pretty scary. Oh, the worst type of stalkers are those who follow you and then arrange or neaten up everything you touch.

    Once, I was in this hotel shop that sells shiny gift items and souvenirs. Each time I picked up something or touched something, the shop assistant would immediately snatch it up the moment I put it back down. Then she’d wipe it with a cloth and put it back. What a rude person! She and her colleague also whispered behind my back and gave me hostile glances. What idiots.

    smallapple: Yeah, the Student types can be quite irritating. Especially when I try not to be rude, so everytime someone says something I feel obliged to reply or acknowledge the person. And if the person wouldn’t stop giving me unsolicited info, it really disrupts my shopping when I have to look up and smile or say “ok” or “thanks” or whatever each time he says something.

    starm|st: Wah, what’s major destruction shopping? You mean destruction to your bank account? lol.

    candy queen: Yeah, I think they happen in all parts of the world.

    skim: Thanks for the compliment! Oh, true, I missed out that type of shop assistant!

    I’ll be posting the stuff I bought in my Fashion Diary over the next few months. Watch out for them! :)

  17. Avatar

    Well, you know the difference between perverted and kinky?
    Kinky is using a feather, perverted is using the whole chicken…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.